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ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS (APC) v. ENGINEER GEORGE T. A. NDUUL & ORS

(2017) LPELR-42415(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 19th day of May, 2017

SC.332/2016


Before Their Lordships

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS (APC) - Appellant(s)

AND

1. ENGINEER GEORGE T. A. NDUUL
2. BARR. BENJAMIN WAYO
3. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the effect of Failure to Serve Court Process(es)

FACTS:
This is an interlocutory appeal against the Ruling of the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division delivered on the 13th day of April, 2016 granting the 1st respondent prayer to hear the substantive appeal on the 1st respondents (appellant at the Lower Court) on the appellant's brief alone.

The 1st respondent as plaintiff instituted the action at the Federal High Court, Makurdi by an originating summons against the appellant and the 2nd and 3rd respondents herein as defendants challenging the nomination or selection of the 2nd respondent by the appellant to contest the primary election of 10/12/2014 of the appellant for the Kwande/Ushongo Federal Constituency, Benue State for the Federal House of Representatives. The challenge was based on the qualification of the 2nd respondent to contest the said election for failure to comply with the Guidelines and Constitution of the appellant and for allegedly presenting false information to the 3rd respondents. This was considered by the 1st respondent as plaintiff as non-compliance with the provisions of the appellant's Constitution and consequently the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

The trial Court after hearing arguments and considering all the processes filed by all the parties delivered its judgment on 10/12/2015 and dismissed 1st respondent's case as lacking in merit.

Dissatisfied with the said decision the 1st respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal and during the pendency of the said appeal, 1st respondent filed a motion for the Court to order hearing of the substantive appeal on his brief alone as appellant for failure of all the respondents filing their briefs of argument after service on them of the appellant's brief and expiration of 30 days. The Lower Court granted the prayer and aggrieved with the Ruling the now appellant has come before the Supreme Court challenging that unfavourable decision.


ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on this sole issue:

Whether the Lower Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine the application filed on the 11/4/2016.

DECISION/HELD:
The appeal was allowed and the ruling of the Lower Court was set aside.


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